Sunday, August 25, 2013


Longest week of running of my life.

Variations of Desolation 13x3=40 miles, 9k'
I hate doing the same thing over and over again, but I needed to get some runable miles in, and this is the best loop around. Did it clockwise, counterclockwise, and from both Millcreek and BCC. Averaged 2:15 for most outings.

Bluebell-Tungsten Pass loop via Swift Creek TH in High Uintas. ~40 miles, 8k'

The start

Having explored the North slopes of the Uintas around King Peak last month with Steve, I decided to check out the South slopes for my final hurrah before Wasatch as I needed another long outing.

Left the BCC Mill D trailhead after completing my final deso 13 for the week at 9 pm Friday night, got to the Swift Creek trailhead north of Mountain Home after 3 long hours in the car including some horrible washboard for the final 15 miles. Slept in the car as it was raining pretty good. Woke to blue skies so I set out.

As I would discover soon enough, the South slope trails are even worse than the North slope trails. Millions of loose cantaloupe size  rocks all over the trail make it very tough to keep a consistent pace. I power hiked most of the way up Swift Creek to Bluebell Pass as running never seemed possible due to grade and poor trail quality. Hit the pass at 3 hours, ate a bagel, then made my way over to Milk Lake and then down into Yellowstone Drainage at the 4 hour mark. Ran up Yellowstone to the 4 way junction below Anderson and Smith Fork Passes, then headed left over to Tungsten Pass.

Grayling Lake, first checkpoint up to Bluebell

Meadows were most runnable terrain of day(unless they were swamps)

Its not bad at first, but after 40 miles, you end up hating these trails. Wheres the dirt?

Took a short break at Tungsten at the 6 hour mark, then ran down to 5 point lake(big) and then back down into Yellowstone at the 8 hour mark. I had 10 miles left from here which was fairly discouraging, but tried to convince myself to run under 10 hours. The trail sucked, up and down, switchbacks in the wrong directions, big rocks, etc. and it started to rain with 5 miles left. My hips were hurting and I forgot ibuprofen so I walked and the last hour or so was pretty miserable. I made my 40th stream crossing of the day(only maybe half of those were dry crossings) before remembering my cold Dr Pepper waiting for me and I busted out the last mile and pulled in at the 10:27 mark.

Tungsten Pass and Lake with Porcupine Pass up and right

Self photo through a cairn arch. 

Angry clouds

"10 miles! Freak. " 

Joyful reunion

Overall it was a beautiful day, great scenery, saw literally not one person the whole day(enjoyable but maybe disconcerting should I have broken my leg) but I would not recommend this loop to anyone looking for a fun "run". Maybe I'm spoiled but I really think these Uinta trails suck compared to the nice buffed out NPS trails or even the trails around SLC.

80 miles. Hopefully its enough for Wasatch. Taper till Sept 6.


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  2. Nice pano and self portrait. Good luck with the taper.

  3. Very well done. What a week. I think sub 26 is in the realm as long as you start slow and your stomach holds. Take the taper serious, being fresh is more important than miles. I only did around 35 miles all week. 2 road runs and an hour up stairs gulch. also did some golf and Frisbee. Still have no pep in my step. we'll see how it goes. awesome pics by the way.